Abu Dhabi develops Covid-19 modelling programme to track infections

The programme will be used to make decisions on safety measures and movement restrictions

A coronavirus tracing programme has been developed by researchers at UAE University and Department of Health Abu Dhabi to track movement. Courtesy: Abu Dhabi Government Media Office
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Health authorities and researchers in Abu Dhabi have developed a programme to track coronavirus infections in the emirate.

The modelling programme will help inform future safety measures and movement restrictions in Abu Dhabi as well as identify the areas that require more testing or increased hospital beds.

The programme, created by Abu Dhabi’s Department of Health and the UAE University, uses an algorithm to predict potential outbreaks in specific areas and will allow authorities to allocate resources accordingly to prevent this.

“The information produced by this model will contribute to developing pre-emptive plans to tackle the virus and implementing imperative initiatives that will contribute to protecting the health and well-being of the community,” a statement from the Department of Health read.

The model creates a virtual map, which identifies areas with high rates of the virus around the emirate.

“It highlights future requirements for the community through the information it provides and its unique features. These features take into consideration the different segments of society including their locations, ages, and illnesses they have previously or currently suffer from,” the department said.

The programme was developed with input from specialists in epidemiology, public health, data science, mathematical modelling, artificial intelligence, engineering sciences and transportation analysis.

It can anticipate the resources needed and numbers of daily casualties in the short term with an accuracy rate of more than 90 per cent, the department said.

“With this tool, decisions based on scientific evidence, analysis, and reading of big data have been adopted, with several initiatives implemented on the ground to ensure the sustainability of the emirate's health sector infrastructure under the current circumstances,” said Ghaleb Ali Al Buraiki, deputy director for academic affairs and acting director of UAEU.

“It also focuses in particular on ensuring the readiness of the workforce and forecasting the health resources required at all times during this pandemic,” he said.

Dr Jamal Al Kaabi, acting undersecretary of the Department of Health, said the programme would help plan prevention measures and contribute to the emirate’s containment of the virus.

“Through this unprecedented pandemic that the globe is facing, we have demonstrated that no obstacle is too challenging for our society as we move towards maintaining the health and well-being of our community," he said.

"Despite the current circumstances, we continue our approach based on scientific research, and the implementation of modern technologies to ensure high quality healthcare treatment is accessible to all residents in Abu Dhabi. This also demonstrates the department’s targeted prevention approach.

“This represents the cornerstone of our vision, and will continue along the same path, determined to contain and control Covid-19.”